Key Points About Urinary Tract Infections
- Urinary tract infections are a common health problem that affects millions of people each year. These infections can affect any part of the urinary tract.
- Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, which normally live in the colon.
- The most common symptoms of UTIs include changes in urination such as frequency, pain, or burning urine looks dark, cloudy, or red and smells bad back or side pain nausea/vomiting and fever.
- Antibiotics are used to treat UTIs. Other treatments may include pain relievers, and drinking plenty of water to help wash bacteria out of the urinary tract.
- Other things that can be done may help reduce the likelihood of developing UTIs.
Experts Say Vitamin C Supplements Are Likely Useless At Best And Harmful At Worst
Although some studies have claimed that vitamin C supplements are helpful for preventing urinary tract infections, all experts are not convinced.
It is likely harmless in small doses, but long term use of high doses can cause significant side effects including gastrointestinal upset, abdominal pain, inflammation of the esophagus, bowel obstruction , fatigue, headache, sleepiness, insomnia, and kidney stones. It can also interfere with other medications you may be taking, Fleming told INSIDER.
Dr. Luk notes that the evidence on the effectiveness of vitamins in combating a UTI does not provide anything conclusive. However, studies do indicate that vitamin C can increase the acidity of urine and combat bacteria, thus, preventing UTIs from recurring. Before taking any vitamins or supplements, check with your doctor, who can determine the potential benefits for you.
What Are The Benefits Of Drinking Cranberry Juice Cocktail
A serving of cranberry juice contains a high concentration of vitamin C, which helps keep your immune system healthy. The plant is capable of fighting free radicals and killing bacteria that pose a threat to human health. Furthermore, there has been some evidence that low vitamin C levels can lead to poor immune function. Infection prevention is the most effective way to avoid being infected.
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What Is An Urinary Tract Infection Aka Uti
A urinary tract infection is a common kind of infection that can affect any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, and urethra.
UTIs are caused by bacteria and other germs that enter the body through the urethra and cause inflammation in the urinary tract.
If left untreated, a UTI can cause serious complications such as kidney damage and infections of the bloodstream.
Saw Palmetto For Bladder Health
Saw palmetto is a type of palm native to the southeastern U.S. It produces berries that are commonly used in supplements to promote prostate health, support hormonal health and assist urinary function in men. One particular study found that men who took two saw palmetto capsules daily for 12 weeks witnessed an improvement in their urinary tract health. A similar study found that after six months of daily saw palmetto supplements, men increased their healthy urine flow and improved their urinary tract health and overall quality of life.12
Saw Palmetto Benefits & Uses
- Enhances urinary function in men
- Promotes prostate health in men
- Natural source of fatty acids
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How Do Doctors Treat Ic
Researchers have not found one treatment for interstitial cystitis that works for everyone. Doctors aim current treatments at relieving symptoms in each person on an individual basis.
A health care professional will work with you to find a treatment plan that meets your needs. Your plan may include
- lifestyle changes
- bladder procedures
Some treatments may work better for you than others. You also may need to use a combination of these treatments to relieve your symptoms.
A health care professional may ask you to fill out a form, called a symptom scale, with questions about how you feel. The symptom scale may allow a health care professional to better understand how you are responding to treatment.
You may have to try several different treatments before you find one that works for you. Your symptoms may disappear with treatment, a change in what you eat, or without a clear reason. Even when your symptoms go away, they may return after days, weeks, months, or even years. Researchers do not know why. With time, you and your doctor should be able to find a treatment that gives you some relief and helps you cope with IC.
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Use Essential Oils With Caution
Oregano essential oil is well known for its strong antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that oregano oil can be very effective at killing E.coli, but it should be noted these studies are generally done in vitromeaning in a lab using scientific techniques, not performed in humans with infections. Lemongrass oil and clove oil may also be a home remedy for UTIs because of their antimicrobial properties, but both have been studied against harmful bacteria in similar experiments as Oregano oil.
Its important to take care before using essential oils as a treatment. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy advises against ingesting these oils. Instead, essential oils may be safely used topically with a carrier oil or inhaled from a diffuser.
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What Foods Calm The Bladder
The American Urological Association also recognizes some foods as potentially having a calming effect on sensitive bladders. These foods include pears, bananas, green beans, squash, potatoes, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, bread, and eggs.
Remember that these are general guidelines and mainly apply to sensitive bladders. In the following section we will discuss what is known regarding food and cancer/ bladder cancer. For specific guidelines related to other bladder conditions you may wish to refer to American Urological Association resources available at www.urologyhealth.org. If you are concerned about your bladder symptoms, seek advice from your doctor.
Herbs And Natural Supplements For Utis
E. coli is the most common type of bacteria to cause UTIs, although occasionally other types of infectious bacteria may be implicated.
Anyone can develop a UTI, but women are 30 times more likely to be affected than men. Approximately 40% of women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives .
A UTI can affect any part of the urinary system, including the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys, but it usually starts in organs of the lower urinary tract, bladder, and urethra (
- a burning sensation when you urinate
- frequent and intense urges to urinate
- cloudy, dark, or bloody urine
- fever or fatigue
- pain in your pelvis, lower abdomen, or back
UTIs can be treated with antibiotics, but infection recurrence is very common.
Whats more, the overuse of antibiotics can have long-term negative consequences, such as damage to the normal, healthy bacteria in your urinary tract, and possibly contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria .
If you suspect that you have a UTI, its important to consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible. What may start as a mild infection can quickly become serious and potentially fatal if left untreated for too long.
That said, some research suggests that up to 42% of mild and uncomplicated UTIs can be resolved without the use of antibiotics .
Here are 8 herbs and natural supplements that may help prevent and treat mild UTIs.
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How To Improve Bladder Health
Many factors related to bladder care, lifestyle, and nutrition can help to maintain and improve bladder health, including:
- Bladder related:
- Empty your bladder regularly and whenever needed . A normally functioning bladder needs to void every 3 to 4 hours.
- Do pelvic floor exercises
- Drink adequate amounts of fluids, especially water
- Eat a healthy diet with plentiful fruit and vegetables
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
Drink Plenty Of Fluids
Dehydration is linked to an increased risk of UTIs.
This is because regular urination can help flush bacteria from the urinary tract to prevent infection. When youre dehydrated, you arent urinating as often, which can create a breeding ground for bacteria.
A examined nursing home residents and administered a drinking schedule to participants to increase their fluid intake. Following the schedule decreased UTIs requiring antibiotics by 56%.
In a 2020 randomized control trial , 140 premenopausal participants prone to UTIs took part in a 12-month study to test if a higher fluid intake would decrease their risk of recurrent cystitis and, in turn, their risk of developing a UTI. Researchers found that an increase in fluid intake led to a decrease in UTI frequency.
To stay hydrated and meet your fluid needs, its best to drink water throughout the day and always when youre thirsty.
Benefits of drinking more fluids for UTI
Drinking plenty of liquids can decrease your risk of UTIs by making you pee more, which helps remove bacteria from your urinary tract.
evidence suggests that increasing your intake of vitamin C could protect against UTIs.
Vitamin C is thought to work by increasing the acidity of urine, killing off the bacteria that cause infection.
An older 2007 study of UTIs in pregnant women looked at the effects of taking 100 milligrams of vitamin C every day.
Fruits and vegetables are especially high in vitamin C and are a good way to increase your intake.
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Urinary Tract Infections: Foods That Fight Bacteria
Urinary Tract Infections affect millions of people every year. They occur when bacteria infects our urinary tract, causing unpleasant and sometimes painful side effects.
Although UTIs are traditionally treated with antibiotics, alongside this course of treatment there are also many at-home nutritional strategies available to help treat infections â and prevent them from reoccurring!
If youâre suffering from, or youâve recently had, a UTI, then try out these top tips for keeping the infection at bay.
Evidence from John Hopkins Medicine has shown that your vitamin C intake can be linked to a reduced risk of UTIs.
Vitamin C is thought to work by increasing the acidity of the urine, thereby killing off the bacteria that causes infection. In fact, a study by Universidad de Colima in Mexico found that pregnant women who ingested 100mg of vitamin C a day cut their risk of contracting a UTI by more than half.
Stock up on fruit and vegetables if youâre looking to up your vitamin C intake Ã¢ oranges, grapefruits, kiwis and red peppers are all great sources.
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that are consumed through food or supplements, and theyâve been found to promote a healthy balance of bacteria in our guts.
There are other supplements you can take to help you battle regular UTIs:
Should Uti Treatment Vary According To Whats Causing The Infection
Your UTI treatment may vary according to whats causing the infection. Certain UTIs, especially chronic and recurring ones, will need antibiotic treatment as opposed to simple home remedies.
If youre prescribed antibiotics to treat a UTI, a healthcare professional may choose an antibiotic thats specific to the type of bacteria thats triggering your infection.
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Can I Take Vitamin C For Uti
Ascorbic acid is often recommended as a supplement that can prevent recurrent urinary tract infections by acidification of the urine. However, there is no strong clinical evidence to support this claim.
The good news is that vitamin C is a valuable supplement that has all kinds of benefits, per Healthline.com: boosting antioxidant levels, reducing blood pressure, reducing heart disease risk, protecting against gout attacks, improving iron absorption, boosting immunity and reducing dementia risk.
At the same time, only a couple of clinical research studies have been done on the protective effects of vitamin C against recurrent UTIs and have arrived at contradicting conclusions.
For example, one study looked at the ability of vitamin C to acidify urine, which could theoretically protect against UTIs. Patients received 500 mg of ascorbic acid four times daily versus a control group that took placebo pills. However, urine pH didnt decrease with vitamin C supplementation, nor didthe rate of UTIs go down. Therefore, even at such high doses, vitamin C failed to acidify patients urine or prevent recurring UTIs.
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Herbal Remedies For Uti
There are several herbal remedies, which are also used to cure a urinary tract infection:
1. Uva Ursi: this herb contains a compound, known as arbutin, which kills the bacteria present in the lining of the urinary passage. It also helps in stimulating urination.
Note: Children, nursing or pregnant women, and people with liver or kidney disease should not take this herb.
2. Horsetail is a good diuretic, which aids in the proper urine flow as well as stops bleeding during urinary tract infections.
3. Echinacea works as a natural antibiotic. Therefore, it helps to fight against the viruses and bacteria that are the main cause of infection in the urinary tract.
4. Parsley seeds are also helpful in treating urinary tract infection as it reduces the inflammation and pain caused due to the UTI.
5. Mullein: another effective herb for treating the inflammation caused due to the UTI is Mullein.
6. Horseradish is a natural antibiotic, which is good for controlling the infection of the urinary tract.
7. Goldenseal: the compound berberine found in this herb stops bacteria from sticking to the urethra walls.
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Risk Factors And Related Health Concerns
Women are at higher risk for UTIs than men are. People with impaired immune systems have an increased risk for UTIs because their bodies dont protect them against infection as effectively. Other risk factors for UTIs include sexual activity, a new sexual partner, multiple sexual partners, kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, urinary catheter use, urinary tract abnormalities, or a recent urinary tract procedure .
Why Do Women Get UTIs More Often than Men Do?
Patients With Lower Amount Of Blood Vitamin D Showed Higher Microbial Load In Urine Sample
We tried to examine if there was any correlation between the deficiency of vitamin D and severity of the urinary tract infection in the analyzed patient group. As it can be seen from the data in the there were significantly higher number of bacteria present in the patients urine having vitamin D deficiency. The highest number of bacteria that was found is in the urine sample of the vitamin D deficient patient.
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Restore Genital Microbiome Balance
The genital microbiome makeup comprises of many different species of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and viruses. These microbes co-exist in a thin balance which is constantly in a state of flux.
However, your genital health depends upon this balance. The flora present in your genitals and body has the potential to protect you from urinary tract infections.
Researchers of a study published in the Journal of Mid-Life Health stated that vaginal flora can be modified and improved with the help of oral intake of certain probiotic strains through supplements and dietary sources. In fact Lactobacillus UTI treatment is becoming more and more popular.
The researchers further wrote that taking certain forms of probiotics could naturally help in restoring genital microbiome to a level considered normal and even optimal.
Vitamin C As An Essential Nutrient For Chronic Infection Support
Whether vitamin C can directly help treat or prevent UTI has little impact on its role as a crucial vitamin for bodily functions.
There is an established link between vitamin C and immune system function. While a healthy vitamin C intake is essential for fighting infection, we also know that for many with inflammation in the bladder, certain types of vitamin C supplements can trigger bladder symptoms.
In speaking with recurrent UTI specialists, the primary recommendation around supplemental vitamin C is that it should be taken in a buffered form, to minimize possible irritation.
Its important to ensure any vitamin C is in a buffered form. One product I like for this purpose is Ultimate Protector. In addition to its potent antioxidant properties, Ultimate Protector activates Nrf2. Several studies have demonstrated that Nrf2 contributes to the anti-inflammatory process as well as increased cysteine production . This is especially important for those who genetically tend to make more ammonia and less cysteine. Ruth Kriz, APRN, Chronic UTI and Interstitial Cystitis Expert
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What Vitamins To Take When You Have A Uti
Urinary tract infections, such as cystitis and urethritis, cause symptoms such as a burning sensation when you wee and cloudy or bloody urine. They can be incredibly uncomfortable and youll probably want to speed up your recovery. If youd like to manage a UTI naturally, we have a blogpost with some fantastic tips. Additionally, some vitamins that may help are:
- Vitamin C in this case, large amounts of Vitamin C reduce the growth of bacteria by acidifying the urine. You can find it naturally in fruit, such as cranberry juice9 and oranges
- Probiotics. Present in fermented foods, like Greek yoghurt and kefir or as a supplement, probiotics contain good bacteria that prevents bacteria from growing
- D-Mannose this is a sugar that prevents bacteria from sticking to the lining of your urinary tract. It is found in cranberries, apples and peaches, although you could take a supplement10
We hope this article has given you some ideas on vitamins to introduce to your diet to help urinary tract symptoms. If you want to make changes to your diet or supplement regime, iD recommends speaking to a healthcare professional first
1 Supplements, Interstitial Cystitis Association, 2 May 2016, Source: https://www.ichelp.org/living-with-ic/interstitial-cystitis-and-diet/supplements/
2 Absorption, metabolism and functions of -cryptoxanthin, Betty J. Burri, Michael R. La Frano and Chenghao Zhu, 11 January 2016, Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4892306/